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A fax is the shortened slang word for "facsimile." It is a document transmitted by a fax machine across telephone lines. Due to the data-compressing nature of the fax format, the fax cover sheet should be textual, clearly and succinctly written, and include the most basic important information about the fax. You can use a word processing program on a computer to create a custom fax cover sheet, or take advantage of the numerous templates available on the Internet.
A fax is scanned through your fax machine and transmitted to your correspondent's fax machine. For example, you may be sending a fax to a large company, where a number of employees probably share the same fax machine in the office. The fax cover sheet is extremely important, therefore, in detailing who should receive the fax and summarizing the contents of the fax. This ensures that the fax is distributed to appropriate party on the receiving end.
Anyone can scrawl a handwritten note on a sheet of paper and send it as a fax cover sheet. A professional-looking fax cover sheet, however, uses a typewriter or the computer's word processor to type out a neat and organized cover sheet. Information should be short and precise with few or no images or extraneous graphics that delay the transmission time. The top of the cover letter under "From" typically states the sender's information, such as the name, address, email address, telephone number and fax number. This data appears much like the return address on an envelope, stacked with the sender's name on the first line, the address on the second and third lines, and so forth.
Below the "From" information is the data displaying the fax recipient's information, usually listed as "To" or as "Recipient." Similar to the "From" information, the "Recipient" information should include the recipient's full name, address, email address, telephone and fax numbers as well as any other relevant contact information. It is important to include the recipient's full name and, if possible, other identifying information, such as office department or extension. This avoids confusion on the recipients' end if the company has, for example, three John Browns working in the same office. Including the office department and other identifying information helps the office more accurately determine the recipient and helps to ensure that your fax is received by the correct person without delays.
Finally, the fax cover letter should contain a very brief summary of relevant details included in the body of the fax. If the fax contains information about an electronic order of service parts for a lawn mower, the fax cover letter should concisely state that in the purpose of the fax and the general information. Most fax cover sheets and templates allow a space for this information, under "Details" or "Message." Information in this section is usually limited to one or two sentences and should be as succinct as possible.
Once the fax cover sheet is typed, print the sheet on the computer printer. The fax sheets are then correlated with the fax cover sheet on top. When it is time to send a fax, send the fax cover letter first and the detailed fax sheets in order following the cover sheet.